Lady Augusta Bracknell
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Quotes for
Lady Augusta Bracknell (Character)
from The Importance of Being Earnest (1952)

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The Importance of Being Earnest (2002)
Jack: I don't actually know who I am by birth. I was... well, I was found.
Lady Bracknell: Found?
Jack: Yes. The late Mr. Thomas Cardew, an old gentlemen of a kindly disposition found me and gave me the name of Worthing because he happened to have a first class ticket to Worthing at the time. Worthing is a place in Sussex. It's a seaside resort.
Lady Bracknell: And where did this charitable gentlemen with the first class ticket to the seaside resort find you?
Jack: In a handbag.
Lady Bracknell: [closes eyes briefly] A handbag?
Jack: Yes, Lady Bracknell, I was in a hand bag. A somewhat large... black... leather handbag with handles... to it.
[pause]
Lady Bracknell: An ordinary handbag.
Lady Bracknell: And where did this Mr. James... or, Thomas Cardew come across this ordinary handbag?
Jack: The cloak room at Victoria Station. It was given to him in mistake for his own...
Lady Bracknell: [Shocked] The cloak room at Victoria Station?
Jack: Yes. The Brighton line.
Lady Bracknell: The line is immaterial.
[begins tearing up notes]
Lady Bracknell: Mr. Worthing. I must confess that I feel somewhat bewildered by what you have just told me. To be born, or at any rate bred in a handbag, whether it have handles or not, seems to me to display a contempt for the ordinary decencies of family life which reminds one of the worst excesses of the French revolution, and I presume you know what that unfortunate movement led to?

Lady Bracknell: You seem to be displaying signs of triviality.
Jack: On the contrary, Aunt Augusta. I've now realized for the first time in my life the vital importance of being Ernest.

Lady Bracknell: To lose one parent, Mr. Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune. To lose both looks like carelessness.

[Jack tells Lady Bracknell his address in London]
Lady Bracknell: The unfashionable side. I thought there was something.
[she reaches for the bell, but reconsiders and pulls back]
Lady Bracknell: However, that could easily be altered.
Jack: Do you mean the fashion, or the side?
Lady Bracknell: Well, both, if necessary, I presume!

Algy: Bunbury? He was quite *exploded*.
Lady Bracknell: Exploded?
Algy: [pretending sadness] Mm.
Lady Bracknell: Was he the victim of some revolutionary outrage? I was not aware that Mr. Bunbury was interested in social legislation.
Algy: My dear Aunt Augusta, I mean he was *found out*. The doctors found out that Bunbury could not live - that is what I mean - so Bunbury died.
Lady Bracknell: He seems to have had great confidence in the opinion of his physicians.

Lady Bracknell: Come on, Gwendolyn, we have already missed five, if not six trains! To miss any more might expose us to comments on the platform.

Lady Bracknell: Well, I must say, Algy, that I think it is high time that Mr. Bunbury made up his mind whether he was going to live or die. This shilly-shallying with the question is absurd!

Lady Bracknell: I do not approve of anything that tampers with natural ignorance. Ignorance is like a delecate, exotic fruit. Touch it, and the bloom is gone. The whole theory of modern education is radically unsound. Fortunately in England, at any rate, education produces no effect whatsoever. If it did it would prove a serious threat to the upper classes, and probably lead ot acts of violence in Grosvenor Square.

Lady Bracknell: I have always been of the opinion that a man who desires to get married should know either everything or nothing. Which do you know?
Jack: I know nothing, Lady Bracknell.
Lady Bracknell: I am pleased to hear it. I do not approve of anything that tampers with natural ignorance. Ignorance is like a very delicate exotic fruit. Touch it and the bloom is gone. The whole theory of modern education is radically unsound. Fortunately, in England at any rate, education produces no effect whatsoever. If it did, it would prove a serious danger to the upper classes, and probably lead to acts of violence in Grosvenor's Square.

Lady Bracknell: I don't know whether there is anything particularly exciting about the air in this particular part of Hertfordshire, but the number of engagements that go on seem to me to be considerably above the proper average that statistics have laid down for our guidance.

Lady Bracknell: 35 is a very attractive age. London society is full of women of the very highest birth who have, of their own free choice, remained 35 for years.

Lady Bracknell: Do you smoke?
Jack: Well, Lady Bracknell, I am bound to say, yes, I do smoke.
Lady Bracknell: That is well. A man should always have an occupation.

Lady Bracknell: I think it is high time that Mr. Bunbury decide whether he would like to live or die.

Lady Bracknell: [walking in on his kneeling proposal] Mr. Worthing, sir, rise from this semi-recumbent posture, it is most indecorous!

Lady Bracknell: The General was essentially a man of peace, except in his domestic life.


The Importance of Being Earnest (1952)
Lady Bracknell: Are your parents living?
Jack Worthing: I have lost both my parents.
Lady Bracknell: To lose one parent, Mr. Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.

Lady Bracknell: Do you smoke?
Jack Worthing: Well yes, I must admit I smoke.
Lady Bracknell: I'm glad to hear it. A man should have an occupation of some kind.

Lady Bracknell: Thirty-five is an attractive age. London is full of women of the highest birth who have, of their own free choice, remained thirty-five for years.

Lady Bracknell: To speak frankly, I am not in favour of long engagements. They give people an opportunity of finding out each other's characters before marriage. Which I think is never advisable

Lady Bracknell: Ignorance is like a delicate exotic fruit; touch it and the bloom is gone. The whole theory of modern education is radically unsound. Fortunately, in England at any rate, education produces no effect whatsoever.

Lady Bracknell: A handbag!

Lady Bracknell: I would strongly advise you, Mr. Worthing, to try and acquire some relations as soon as possible, and to make a definite effort to produce at any rate one parent, of either sex, before the season is quite over.
Jack Worthing: Well, I don't see how I could possibly manage to do that, Lady Bracknell. I can produce the hand-bag at any moment. It is in my dressing-room at home. I really think that should satisfy you, Lady Bracknell.
Lady Bracknell: Me, sir! What has it to do with me? You can hardly imagine that I and Lord Bracknell would dream of allowing our only daughter - a girl brought up with the utmost care - to marry into a cloak-room, and form an alliance with a parcel? Good morning, Mr. Worthing!